John Warnock, co-founder of Adobe, father of Illustrator, and half the reason we have digital typography and desktop publishing, once said: "Good typography is something everybody sees but nobody notices."
Of course, he was referring to the function of typography and, ultimately, the reason Illustrator contains all of its amazing typesetting features. Decorative type objects aside, the function of typography is to convey language. In this book, for exampleindeed, in this very passage of textyou should not notice the typeface (font) chosen, how well the letters of the words are kerned together, or the thickness of the em dashes (). All you should see are the meanings of my words. My words, the information conveyed by the marks of black ink on this page, are what really matter.
You are reading this book to obtain information, and the typography of the book is only the vehicle to convey that information to you. The function of typography is to support the written word.
Shown up only by its Creative Suite pal InDesign, Illustrator contains some of the most advanced typographic tools ever accessible on a desktop computer. With control over kerning, tracking, leading, hyphenation, and paragraph composition, and with its Open Type features, you may set type in Illustrator with greater precision than has been possible since the advent of desktop publishing.
Yet the real purpose of all this control, all this freedom and power, is ultimately to be unseen. Its job is to merely make words, and then sentences, and then paragraphs first visible, and then legible, and then readable. If the typography is noticed, the book designer has failed the job.
Typography is an ironic practice; in a world where creativity is noticed and creative people strive to be unique, the goal of typography is to be unnoticed. The more robust the application's typesetting functions and the more skilled a designer is with those functions, the closer to invisible the designer becomes.
The better you are with Illustrator's type tools, the less your work will be noticed. And that is the way it should be.